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Nine Most Popular Project Management Methodologies

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There are several ways of delivering projects. Project Management has evolved itself over the time from basic project management methodology to most advanced methodologies practiced today.

There are many project management methodologies available today. Each methodology is based on difference principles, themes, frameworks and processes. The applicability of different methodologies also varies with the type of project, type of industry and environment where the project is being executed, competence level of the organization managing the project, etc. In this article, we will know in detail about some of the most popular project management methodologies available today and their applicability.

Nine Most Popular Project Management Methodologies

  1. Agile
  2. Scrum
  3. Kanban
  4. Scrumban
  5. Lean
  6. eXtreme Programming (XP)
  7. Waterfall
  8. PRINCE2
  9. PMI’s PMBOK


Agile manifesto is a set of four values and twelve principles initially developed to manage software projects. Now a day, agile methodology is being uses across various industries. The agile manifesto outlines four values.

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation;
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation;
  4. Responding to change over following a plan.

Click the link below to know more about agile project management.

Agile Project Management Methodology

Agile is a flexible way of managing projects in which the project is divided into several iterations. These iterations are series of tasks that are executed and adapted as situation demands, rather than a pre- planned process. Agile projects require high interaction with all the stakeholders and uses frequent feedback of customers for continuous improvement. This methodology is suitable for the projects which are executed in fast changing industry or environment. Agile projects welcome changes, no matter at which stage they are introduced in the project lifecyle.

Agile tends to be used as an umbrella term used for several different frameworks including Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP), Kanban, and Scrumban.


Scrum is a project management methodology which was initially developed for software projects. It contains processes and principals to improve delivery of a project. It is a simple and popular framework, which can be used to put the principles of agile in practice. The Scrum improves communication, teamwork and speed of development. Scrum uses a simple set of rules and meetings called Scrum ceremonies to manage projects.

This methodology is based on the assumption that the team managing the project knows best, how to solve the problem. Therefore, instead of detailing everything that has to be done, it is left to the team to manage the project.

Scrum team is a self-organizing, cross-functional team. There is no overall team leader who decides which person will do which task or how a problem will be solved. Those are issues that are decided by the team as a whole.

The Scrum team is cross functional, meaning everyone is needed to take a feature from idea to implementation.

There are two main roles who support Scrum team. One is a Scrum Master, who is like a coach to the Scrum team and the other is the Product Owner, who represents the business, customers or users, and guides the team to build the right product.


Knaban is a popular methodology, used to implement agile projects. Knaban is a lean method of project management. This approach aims to manage work by balancing demands with available capacity, and by improving the handling of system-level bottlenecks. It requires a real time communication and full transparency of work. Work items are represented visually on a Knaban Board, allowing team members to see the state of every piece of work at any time.

Kanban board visually depict work at various stages of a process using cards to represent work items and columns to represent each stage of the process. Cards are moved from left to right to show progress and to help coordinate teams performing the work. A kanban board may be divided into horizontal “swimlanes” representing different kinds of work or different teams performing the work.


Scrumban is a hybrid project management methodology that combines a mixed scrum and Kanban approach to project management. It takes the flexibility of Kanban and adds some of the structure of scrum to create a new way to manage projects.

Scrumban emerged to meet the needs of teams who wanted to minimize the batching of work and adopt a pull-based system. A hybrid of Scrum and Kanban gives teams the flexibility to adapt to stakeholder and production needs without feeling overburdened by their project methodology. Scrumban provides the structure of Scrum with the flexibility and visualization of Kanban, making it a highly versatile approach to workflow management.

Scrumban can also be used as a stepping stone for teams seeking to transition from Scrum to Kanban. For many software development teams, an immediate shift to Kanban would be too drastic. Scrumban offers teams a way of learning how to practice continuous improvement in Kanban without abandoning the familiar structure of Scrum.

Lean Management

Lean management is a popular approach to run a company based on the concept of continuous improvement. In other words, it is an ongoing effort to refine products, services, or processes, which require “incremental” improvement over time in order to increase efficiency and quality.

The main purpose of lean management is to reduce factors that waste time, effort or money. The only way to manage with it is to analyze a business process and then revise it and cut out every step that does not create value for customers.

Lean Principles

  1. Defining value from the standpoint of the end customer.
  2. Identifying each step in a business process and eliminating those steps that do not create value.
  3. Making the value-creating steps occur in a tight sequence.
  4. Repeating the first three steps on a continuous basis until all waste has been eliminated.

These lean principles ensure that production and market launch remain cost-effective.

Lean production or lean manufacturing is a systematic method for the elimination of wastes within a production process. For instance, wastes can be caused by unevenness in workloads, overburden or any work that does not add value. From a customer point of view, “value” is any process or action that he would be willing to pay for. Basically, lean is focus on making obvious what brings value by decreasing everything else.

Extreme Programming (XP)

Extreme Programming (XP) is an agile software development framework that aims to produce higher quality software, and higher quality of life for the development team. XP is the most specific of the agile frameworks regarding appropriate engineering practices for software development.

The Extreme Programming (XP) is suitable in dynamically changing software requirements, fixed time projects using new technology and where the team is small & co-located.

The five values of XP are communication, simplicity, feedback, courage, and respect and are described in more detail below.


The waterfall model is a classical model used in system development life cycle to create a system with a linear and sequential approach. It is called waterfall because the model develops systematically from one phase to another in a downward fashion. This model is divided into different phases and the output of one phase is used as the input of the next phase. Every phase has to be completed before the next phase starts and there is no overlapping of the phases.

Phases of Waterfall model

(1) Requirement Gathering- All possible requirements are captured in product requirement documents.

(2) Analysis Read – the requirement and based on analysis define the schemas, models and business rules.

(3) System Design — Based on analysis design the software architecture.

(4) Implementation- Development of the software in the small units with functional testing.

(5) Integration and Testing- Integrating of each unit developed in previous phase and testing of the entire system for any faults.

(6) Deployment of system – Make the product live on production environment after all functional and nonfunctional testing completed.

(7) Maintenance- Fixing issues and release new version with the issue patches as required.


1. Easy to use, simple and understandable, 2. Easy to manage as each phase has specific outputs and review process, 3. Clearly-defined stages, 4. Works well for smaller projects where requirements are very clear, 5. Process and output of each phase are clearly mentioned in the document.


1. It doesn’t allow much reflection or revision. When the product is in testing phase, it is very difficult to go back and change something which is left during the requirement analysis phase.

2. High risk and uncertainty.

3. Not suitable for complex and object-oriented projects.

4. Changing requirements can’t be accommodated in any phase.

5. As testing is done at a later phase, hence there is a chance that risks at earlier phases are not identified.


PRINCE2, an acronym for Projects IN Controlled Environments, is one of the most widely used project management methodologies in the world today. This well-structured methodology makes it easier to control the entire work process. This methodology was originally developed by the UK government in 1989 for its information technology projects. It was released as a methodology for non-governmental projects in 1996. PRINCE2 is currently being owned by AXELOS Ltd.

PRINCE2 helps project managers divide projects so that each stage is more manageable and controllable, regardless of the type and scale of the project. It’s quite flexible and can be customized according to your specific requirements. With the help of PRINCE2, you can thoroughly plan your project before you begin working on it. Every stage of the process is structured from start to finish. It also allows you to tie up any loose ends after you’ve finished the project. 

Seven Principles of PRINCE2

There are seven principles of PRINCE2 methodology that support its value and focus:

(1) Every project must have a business justification. This means that the project has to have some value for customers, which will result in a good return on investment. It should lay out a proper cost assessment and practical benefits.

(2) The team should learn lessons from every stage of the process, and record them to use for improving future project work.

(3) All roles and responsibilities should be defined clearly. Everyone on the team should know their place in the project and also be aware of what their teammates are doing. 

(4) The work must be planned in stages, with the project divided into individual phases. Also, you must have periodic reviews to help learn lessons for future use, track the work’s progress, and make sure deadlines and milestones are being met. 

(5) The project board has the authority to manage by exception. Board members are not usually involved in the actual work of a project; they establish the baseline requirements such as time, cost, and risk. Instead, work is delegated to the project manager, who, in turn oversees the project. Issues may arise that affect the established requirements, in which case the board members have the authority to intervene and manage the project and as they see fit. 

(6) The team must continuously be focused on quality throughout the project to achieve the best results. A quality register is used to check deliverables against requirements. 

(7) There is no one-size-fits-all approach. The PRINCE2 method has to be adjusted to suit the requirements of every individual project. This means that the size of the team, the planning, and other factors may be different.


The PMBOK “methodology” is a framework of standards, conventions, processes, best practices, terminologies, and guidelines that are accepted as project management industry standards. The PMBOK suggests the five process steps of project management: initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing. It contains many processes and techniques of project management which are used to manage the project.

The PMBOK best practices are useful as a foundation, but in order to implement it as a methodology, you have to choose which processes you’ll apply, when, by whom, and to what extent. You also have to consider your organization’s structure, governance, and workflows, adapting the general foundations of the PMBOK to your specific circumstances.

It is, therefore, more theoretical, a reference guide, which you can be certified in. You can’t actually run a PMI or PMBOK project, but you can leverage the standards to create a universal language and best practice around a project.

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Rajesh Pant
Rajesh Pant
My name is Rajesh Pant. I am M. Tech. (Civil Engineering) and M. B. A. (Infrastructure Management). I have gained knowledge of contract management, procurement & project management while I handled various infrastructure projects as Executive Engineer/ Procurement & Contract Management Expert in Govt. Sector. I also have exposure of handling projects financed by multi-lateral organizations like the World Bank Projects. During my MBA studies I developed interest in management concepts.
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